A visit to Westport House is one of the more popular things to do in Mayo, and it’s a handy option for anyone looking for things to do in Westport when it’s raining.
Built back in 1730 by the Browne family, the house and gardens have been welcoming visitors for decades.
It’s considered one of the best places to take the whole family with a range of things to see and do in the estate grounds.
If you’re interested in heading to Westport House, you’ll discover everything from what there is to do in (and outside!) of the house in the guide below.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Westport House
Although a visit to Westport House is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Westport House is located just a five-minute drive from Westport Town itself in County Mayo. The Georgian-era estate overlooks the Carrowbeg River between Westport town and the Quay Side area.
2. Opening hours
The opening hours of Westport House varies throughout the year. It’s open from 10am to 4pm most of the year, and until 6pm during the summer months. The adventure park is open throughout the summer months from 11am to 6pm. The gardens and grounds of the estate are open all year round, with hours ranging from 8am to 4pm in winter and 8am to 9pm during summer.
Ticket prices also vary depending on what part of the estate you want to explore. For the Westport House, tickets are €13.50 per adult, €11 for students and seniors and €6.50 for children. For the pirate adventure park ticket prices are €25 per adult, €20 for students and seniors and €20 for children.
4. Plenty to see and do
There is plenty to see and do at Westport House. From exploring the beautiful historic home to wandering through the gardens, you can admire the interesting history and design of the stunning estate. If you simply want to stretch your legs and appreciate the beautiful woodland, then there are also plenty of trails to ramble along. More on this below.
4. Camping and glamping
The huge estate is also home to one of the best places to go glamping in Mayo – Westport House Caravan and Camping Park. Just a 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk from Westport town, it’s a great place to stay for a family holiday or couples retreat in nature. More on Westport House camping below.
A speedy history of Westport House
Westport House is still privately owned and one of the few remaining historic homes in Ireland. For over 300 years, the Browne family built and lived in the house until another local family, the Hughes, bought the house in 2017.
Origins and architectural history
The house was built by the Browne family in the 18th century. The family are direct descendants of the famous 16th century Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley. The house was in fact built on the foundations of one of her castles of which she had a few scattered around Western Ireland. The house was designed by famous architects, Richard Cassels, James Wyatt and Thomas Ivory.
Open to the public
In 1960, Jeremy Browne, 11th Marquess of Sligo, decided to open the estate to the public after being inspired by similar houses in the UK. He was passionate about diversifying the offerings beyond the house and he introduced a number of fun attractions including rides and the campground. Over time the adventure park was developed and rebranded in the 2000s.
New owners and the future
In 2017, the Browne family sold the historical house and estate to the local Hughes family. It marked a new chapter in the history of the estate with upgrades and restoration works planned for the near future, including expansion of walking trails and the adventure park.
What to see and do at Westport House
One of the beauties of Westport House and Gardens is that there’s plenty to see and do both in and outside the house.
Below, you’ll find everything from the gorgeous gardens and the house tour to walks and much more.
1. Explore the gardens
Westport House has over four hundred acres of lush green woodland with plenty of space and trails to explore. The gardens and grounds are free to enjoy with walking trails through the gardens and forest to stretch your legs and ramble along. You’ll find terraces, ancient oak trees and views back across Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick.
2. Step back in time at the house
As one of the most beautiful historic homes in Ireland, Westport House has incredible architectural beauty and antique touches to admire indoors. With either a guided tour or audio tour, the stories of the house and owners contained in the 30 rooms and 6 permanent exhibitions comes to life.
You can explore all the rooms across 3 floors including the best work from the famous architects of the 18th century. There’s still a fine collection of artwork on the walls as well, including portraits of historical figures and family members.
3. Explore the area on foot
One of the best ways to explore the estate is on foot. The grounds and garden are free to roam with plenty of walking trails through the woodland to ramble along. There is a restored 3.5km loop walk which offers sea and lough views across some of the best parts of the estate.
You can also find a couple of new trails, including one that takes you past cascades and waterfalls on the Carrowbeg River and one that takes you through a challenging 1.5km section of the Southern Woods.
4. Take the kids to the adventure park
The best place to take the kids is certainly the Pirate Adventure Park on the grounds of the estate. The whole family will love the park which includes rides, slides, boats and trains with a day pass that provides unlimited use of the attractions.
There’s a long list of rides and activities including the cannonball run slide, pedal boats on the lake, pirate’s playground, zipline, vortex tunnel, mini Ferris Wheel and table tennis. You can also get a 25% discount on tickets if you stay at either Hotel Westport or the caravan and camping park.
5. Westport House camping
This campsite is a solid option for those of you that don’t fancy staying in one of the hotels in Westport (or one of the many B&Bs in Westport).
Located in a very picturesque setting with surrounding woodland and close to the river’s edge, it’s also just a 15-minute stroll from Westport town.
Whether you’ve got your own caravan and camping setup or want to hire one of their Bell Tents, it’s a great place to give camping or glamping a crack. There are also a number of facilities available to make your stay more comfortable, including hot showers, toilets, recycling, waste water, free Wi-Fi and picnic areas.
Things to do near Westport House
When you finish up at the house, you’re a stones throw from some of the best places to visit in Mayo, from Croagh Patrick and Achill Island to much, much more.
Below, you’ll find everything from hikes and walks to beaches, island and more to visit after you leave Westport House.
1. Croagh Patrick
Otherwise known as the Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick is a 764m high mountain just 8km from Westport. It’s an important pilgrimage site and is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. It was on the summit of this mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD. People flock from all over the world to climb the mountain in honour of Saint Patrick. The views from the top are incredible stretching across the town and bay and are worth the effort of the hike.
2. Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is an incredible rail trail in County Mayo that stretches for 42 kilometres. It begins in Westport and ends in Achill, passing through Newport and Mulranny along the coast of Clew Bay.
A cycle or walk along the trail provides incredible views of the nearby mountains and the many islands in the bay. As one of the longest off-road greenways in Ireland, it’s a great way to experience the Wild Atlantic Way.
3. Achill Island
Lying just off the coast of County Mayo, Achill Island is known for its dramatic sea cliffs and beautiful beaches, such as Keem Bay and Dooagh Beach.
There are plenty of things to do in Achill: You can head off surfing at some of the secluded bays or go hiking up the mountains, with plenty of outdoor activities on the island.
You can reach Achill by car across a bridge or by bicycle on the Great Western Greenway. Either way it’s a delightful and simply stunning place to explore as a day trip from Westport.
4. Westport Town
A pretty coastal town on the west coast of County Mayo, Westport is a historical town filled with stone bridges, tree-lined promenades and nearby castle and abbey.
There are plenty of great restaurants in Westport and there are some fine pubs in Westport, too!
FAQs about visiting Westport House in Mayo
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from Westport House camping to what there is to do on the grounds.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Can you stay in Westport House?
Yes. Well, kind of. There’s now Westport House camping and glamping for anyone that fancies staying in/near the house.
What is there to do at Westport House?
You can explore the gardens, step back in time at the house, explore the area on foot, take the kids to the adventure park or try Westport House camping.
Is Westport House worth visiting?
Yes. There’s a bit of something to tickle most fancies at the house, from the tour of the interior, where you’ll learn about its past, to the walks in the grounds.